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Which nationalities need a short-stay visa for Spain?

There are different visa types you may need to enter Spain depending on your reason, whether it’s for tourism, to visit family, some temporary work or business. Whether you need a visa partly depends on which country you're from.

Which nationalities need a short-stay visa for Spain?
You need a Schengen visa to enter Spain. Photo: by FADEL SENNA / AFP

Spain is located within Europe’s Schengen zone, which is made up of 27 different countries. These are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

If your country requires you to apply for a visa to enter Spain, then most likely you will apply for what is known as a Schengen visa, which will in fact allow you into any of the countries above for a maximum of 90 days in any 180 days.

Keep in mind, this does not allow you into any country in the EU, the list is different. For example, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania are in the EU, but are not part of the Schengen Zone.

To apply for a Schengen visa, you will need, a completed visa application form, recent photographs, a valid passport, flight reservations, travel insurance, proof of accommodation, proof of financial means and pay the visa fee, which is €80 for adults and €40 for children from 6 to 12 years old.

Be aware, there are a few countries that need to apply for a Schengen visa, but don’t need to for Spain, such as East Timor and Vanuatu. You can see the complete lists of those who do and don’t need a visa for Spain below. 

The list of countries that must apply for a visa to enter Spain are:

African countries
Angola, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Cormoros Islands, Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswantini, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic, D. Rep. of the Congo, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Middle Eastern Countries
Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine. 

Asian countries
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, North Korea, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Central Asian countries
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Non-EU European countries
Ukraine, Kosovo and Belarus. 

South American countries
Belize, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana and Suriname. 

North American countries

Caribbean countries
Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. 

Transcontinental countries
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia. 

Oceanic countries
Fiji and Papua New Guinea. 

If you are not from one of the above countries, you will not have to apply for a visa to enter Spain, however, you may still need to prove you can meet certain requirements, such as a return flight, proof of accommodation or enough funds.

Nationals from countries that don’t need a visa for Spain are: 

All EU/EEA countries

Non-EU European countries
United Kingdom, Albania, Andorra, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Holy See (Vatican City), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and Serbia. 

Caribbean countries
Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago and Saint Kitts & Nevis. 

South American countries
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. 

Asian countries
Brunei, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and East Timor. 

North and Central American countries
Canada, United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

Oceanic countries
Australia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. 

African countries
Seychelles and Mauritius. 

Middle Eastern countries 
United Arab Emirates and Israel. 

Transcontinental countries

Be aware that in 2024, non-EU nationals who don’t need a visa for Spain will have to apply for an ETIAS, which stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. This is relevant only to non-EU citizens who do not live permanently in an EU country or have a visa for an EU country.

It, therefore, covers tourists, second-home owners, those on family visits or doing short-term work.

It is similar to the ESTA needed for the US and each application costs €7. The start date has been postponed several times and it’s due to come into force in 2024, but it isn’t known exactly when.

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Barcelona airport thief nabbed by champion runner but immediately released

Barcelona's infamous pickpocketing problem was on full display on Wednesday as a thief nabbed by a trail running champion at El Prat airport was then immediately released.

Barcelona airport thief nabbed by champion runner but immediately released

A pickpocket trying his luck at Barcelona’s El Prat airport unknowingly chose the worst victim he possibly could have on Wednesday.

Núria Picas, widely held as one of the world’s best ultra runners, was loading her luggage from a car for an upcoming trip to Norway when a thief stole her backpack containing her passport, phone, and other valuable items.

The Catalan runner set off after him, chasing the thief through the airport, until she (perhaps unsurprisingly) caught up with the pickpocket, took him down, and got her bag back.

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A post shared by Núria Picas (@nuriapicasoficial)

“The kid didn’t know who he was up against,” Picas, the winner of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in 2017, said.

However, the thief was then promptly released by airport security. Picas took to Instagram to vent her anger: “Outrageous when security let him run free in the blink of an eye”.

Although the fact that it was security workers rather than actual police officers who apprehended the thief could partly explain his swift release, Spanish law allows low-level criminals to steal goods worth less than €400 and not face a prison sentence if caught, meaning most of them continue doing it.

There are also reports of a lack of Catalan Mossos police at El Prat, which means they have to move between terminals rather than remain at one, leading to a proliferation of pickpockets, homeless people and even squatters at the airport’s premises.

Barcelona is particularly notorious for being the pickpocketing capital of Spain if not Europe.

Between January and June of 2022 alone, 36,386 non-violent robberies (hurtos) took place in Barcelona, according to the Spanish government’s latest Crime Report.

READ ALSO: How Barcelona is once again Spain’s pickpocket capital

The word hurto in Spanish encompasses different non-violent forms of stealing other people’s property, from pickpocketing to stealing from shops or burglaries.

This equates to 200 reported non-violent robberies a day in Barcelona during that period.

Although there is no official data on thefts committed at airports, robberies have been reported at Barcelona’s El Prat, Madrid’s Barajas, Valencia, Alicante-Elche, Palma de Mallorca, and Tenerife airports, among others.

There was the case of two thieves at El Prat who stole a suitcase which contained €8 million worth of jewellery, two elderly pickpockets who operated at Alicante’s airport dressed as tourists, and a thief who specialised in stealing suitcases from airport buses in Gran Canaria. 

READ ALSO: How to avoid getting robbed or pickpocketed at Spain’s airports